Suspected identify thief accused of stealing thousands from North Shore woman

MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - A woman accused of stealing thousands of dollars in a case of identity theft is now behind bars, and police say she's wanted for similar crimes across Louisiana and Texas.  The Mandeville Police Department began investigating the case in early April after a Mandeville woman noticed several fraudulent charges on her debit account totaling $897.52. This caused the victim to take a close look at her credit which revealed that two fraudulent accounts had been opened using her personal information.

Detectives say 35 year old Tarra Denea Montgomery Watkins opened two checking accounts using the victim's information. They allege that Watkins then used the victim's credit score to obtain a line of credit in conjunction with that account. Watkins ran up over $9,000.00 on that credit line and was in the process of receiving a $25,000.00 line of credit on the other account when the fraud was discovered.

Watkins was arrested at her home on Bruxelles Street in New Orleans on June 1, 2015.  Mandeville Police detectives were assisted in the case by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office Fugitive Apprehension Unit and the U. S. Secret Service Financial Crimes Taskforce.  During the arrest, officers, armed with a search warrant, seized a credit card reader which they say appeared to be new and unused as of yet.    They also reportedly seized numerous documents containing the personal information of past and potentially future victims.

Watkins is charged with 2 counts of Bank Fraud, 2 counts of Forgery, 1 count of Identity Theft, 2 counts of Access Device Application Fraud, and 1 count of Computer Fraud in connection with the crimes she committed in Mandeville.

Detectives say Watkins also has multiple outstanding warrants through each of the following agencies for similar financial crimes: Denton County Sheriff's Office (TX), Dallas County Sheriff's Office (TX), Euless Police Department (TX), Louisiana State Police, Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

Watkins is currently being held in Orleans Parish pending extradition.

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